Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rabid Progress

We finally pulled into Bagua Grande as dusk was settling down into evening. Zaya yielded the helm back to me and instinctively I found the central square, the Plaza des Armas. How did we know this? Because the Spanish set a common standard for urban design in Peru and every town has a Plaza des Armas which is almost invariably ringed with a church, the town hall, the palace of justice and hotels. Sure enough the Hotel Singapour (sic) was on the corner and turned out good enough for the price. Zaya talked with the proprietor about finding a truck to help us leapfrog ahead and he promised to take her early in the morning to look for one. We wandered around shooting photos and meeting a few locals. Not many gringos make it to Bagua Grande.

The following morning we were up early and met Rick, a Scotsman, at breakfast. While Zaya went off with the manager in search of a truck, Rick and I chatted a bit. He had spent the last seven years in Saudi Arabia and had had enough of work for now and decided to cycle around South America for the fun of it. He had, however, been bitten by a dog the day before and was moping about with an armful of rabies vaccine. Having started in Columbia, Rick was working his way south by instinct and the occasional help of others via the Internet. We exchanged emails and I promised to let him know about highway conditions to the east.

Rick's dilemma, like mine, had been whether to spend the money on rabies vaccine before leaving on his trip. For most of us it's a risk/cost calculation. The cost for a rabies vaccination in the US is $1,200. My doctor highly recommended it since the risk of contracting the disease in Peru is reasonably high, dogs chase mototaxis, and, he intoned, "If you get rabies you WILL DIE!" Rick had taken the risk and was on a six day course of injections (which were a lot less expensive than they would have been in the States). He later sent me an email to say that he'd become stir crazy after two days and made for Pablo Ruiz some 60 kilometers from Bagua Grande, where, it turned out, the local clinic didn't have any rabies vaccine. I haven't heard from Rick since, but that $1,200 sounds like cheap insurance now...

No comments:

Post a Comment